I recorded the second episode of the Tile9 podcast this week. In each episode I read from my book, stopping to relate the entries to all Nine Tiles. During the recording, there were a number of lines which reminded me of something Karaj had said to me during a phone call two days earlier.
We had been talking about my work and how far things had moved over the last six months; and he did what he always used to do. He checked my enthusiasm with a simple question: What are you doing? If you are doing this to be rich and famous, then go for it, but if you are doing it as part of your inner journey, then you need to ask yourself why. Why would you do something so obviously external, when the inner journey – as the name so clearly implies – is internal?
He didn’t stop there. He probed further, questioning my attachment to status and recognition, and to how the world sees me. That’s where those lines from the latest podcast come in (all of which are from 19 years ago):
Just Be The Best I Can Possibly Be
I don’t need to worry about people’s opinion of me. As Karaj pointed out on the drive home: if people have a problem with me they’ll say so. And so long as I think I’m a great person that’s all that really matters.
One of my main stumbling blocks in life is my preoccupation with what other people think of me. I realise how unnecessary it is and how much of a hindrance it can be, but I continue to place more importance on what other people think than what I think. I cannot imagine how liberating it must be not to care what others think.
I was being me and if people didn’t like me, it wasn’t a problem. The paradox being that with this attitude I was more genuine, more kind, more generous, and more friendly than ever.
There were other observations from Karaj during that 2-hour call, but the final one for now was that I am not clear enough in myself, and it creates uncertainty in others. That has its roots in my Please Others Driver, which sees to it that I never fully commit to myself for fear that someone might not approve. I end up being neither this nor that, when it would be better – and easier! – just to be.
In the context of the Tile 9 work, this is another reminder to let go. To be where I am, be empty, and allow the world to be as it is. I do not need it to like me, nor to approve of what I do. It’s just like the story of the Master and the Scorpion, which concludes with these words:
Do not change your nature if someone hurts you; just take precautions. Some pursue happiness, others create it. When life presents you a thousand reasons to cry, show it that you have a thousand reasons to smile. Worry more about your consciousness than your reputation. Because your consciousness is what you are, and your reputation is what others think of you… and what others think of you… is their problem.
All I can do is be who I am. That’s what Karaj has always done, and he did it again this week. He even apologised for what he was doing, aware that it might be uncomfortable for me, whilst also acknowledging that he would be letting me down if he were to be any other way. Which is precisely what I expect from a man who is both consistent and way beyond caring what others think of him.